The Battle of North Point was an engagement in the War of 1812, fought on this day in 1814, between Brigadier General John Stricker’s Third Brigade of the Maryland State Militia and a British landing force, composed of units from the British Army, Royal Navy seamen and Royal Marines, and led by Major General Robert Ross and Rear Admiral George Cockburn.
The events and result of the engagement, a part of the larger Battle of Baltimore, are somewhat disputed. Several eyewitness reports of the engagement painted it as a straightforward British victory, with American forces routing in disorder in the face of the British assault. Most American narratives of the battle, many of them originating from Stricker himself, tend to claim US forces were able to retreat in good order having inflicted heavy casualties on the British.
One of the casualties was Ross, killed during the course of the battle by American sharpshooters. His death significantly demoralized the troops under his command and left some units confused and lost among the woods and marshes of Patapsco Neck. This prompted the British second-in-command, Colonel Arthur Brooke of the 44th Regiment of Foot, to have his troops remain on the battlefield for the evening and night, treating the wounded at the nearby Methodist meeting house, thus delaying his advance against Baltimore.
This delay gave the Americans more time to organize the defense of the city, under the command of Major General Samuel Smith, while Stricker slowly retreated back to the main defences, cutting down trees across the roads to delay the British advance. Along with the failure of the Royal Navy to neutralize Fort McHenry guarding Baltimore Harbour, the resulting vast numerical superiority over the British force of 4,000 men and 4 cannons led to the subsequent abandonment of the planned assault on Baltimore.